Can MRI of small blood vessels in the brain better predict stroke or cognitive decline?
Advanced imaging techniques have shown that with age, people commonly develop small changes inside their brains that have unknown impact on their health. Today’s MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanners are frequently detecting tiny areas of bleeding ‘micro-haemorrhaging’ in the brain, blockages in small blood vessels and ‘white matter’ lesions (groups of cells) in the brains of otherwise healthy older people.
Researchers do not know if these changes are possible indicators of potential stroke or dementia, or if they are a normal part of healthy ageing.
ASPREE-NEURO is studying the relationship between the presence of white matter lesions and/or changes in small blood vessels of the brain and whether that puts older people at risk of having a stroke or developing dementia in the future. MRI scans may also help to explain how aspirin affects these changes in the brain.
What participation involved
ASPREE-NEURO sub-study participants underwent three brain MRI scans; the first at the beginning of the ASPREE study (prior to starting study medication) and subsequent scans at one and three years later.
Participants also undertook short thinking and memory exercises, unless they had already completed these in the SNORE-ASA sub-study. All MRI scans were undertaken at the Monash Biomedical Imaging Centre (MBI) in Melbourne.
How to find out more about the ASPREE-NEURO study: